**This post may contain affiliate links. I may be compensated if you use them.

When I first started travelling, all I needed was a guidebook to get by, but as technology keeps changing, I find myself relying on my smartphone more than anything else. Social media, apps, and maps are part of my daily life, and it’s no different when I travel. That of course presents a bit of a problem; how do I avoid roaming charges?

Obviously I could just keep my roaming data off, but being connected has its benefits. With Google maps, getting lost is never an issue, and Yelp ensures a good meal every time, but those require a data connection and that costs money– a lot of money if you’re not careful.

Telecom companies have responded to consumer demands (or government pressure, depending how you look at it) by introducing new roaming packages. These prices are reasonable, but for Canadian travellers, the voice and data packages are only available for the U.S. and Europe. If you’re headed to a country without an agreement with your home carrier, roaming charges can add up fast.

There’s got to be a better solution right? Yup! KnowRoaming, a Canadian tech company can help give your unlocked phone access to cheap voice and data plans in 200+ countries.

KnowRoaming SIM sticker

What is KnowRoaming?

Attach the KnowRoaming SIM sticker to your phone, install the app, and you’ll instantly have access to the following:

  • No hidden charges – accounts are pre-loaded with credit
  • Detailed breakdown of charges in real-time
  • Your calls can be forwarded abroad
  • Reduced long distance charges
  • Defaults to callback, further reducing charges

For someone who travels and still wants to take calls on their home number, KnowRoaming is incredibly appealing. You’re able to forward your calls abroad and pay just the local airtime rates. You can even purchase a local number on your account so friends in the country you’re visiting can call you without being charged long distance fees.

One problem with many roaming plans is that you have no idea how much you’ve spent until you return home. With the KnowRoaming app, you can manage your services and monitor your account making it easy to avoid roaming charges since you’ll know exactly how much you’re spending.

My experience in Japan

I recently visited Japan and KnowRoaming set me up with a SIM sticker along with some credit, I’m happy to report that I had a very positive experience. The SIM sticker is literally a sticker that attaches to your SIM card with relative ease. This can be any SIM, so it doesn’t have to be the one currently assigned to your home number, but obviously attaching it to your main SIM card makes things easier.

As soon as I landed in Japan, I was automatically connected to the KnowRoaming network which is partnered with a local Japanese telecom company. Setting up my data connection required a few extra steps but it was relatively easy to figure out with the instructions being on screen in the app.

Saving money is clearly the biggest advantage, making a call home to a Canadian mobile number cost me just 27¢ (Canadian) a minute, whereas if I used regular roaming rates, I would be charged $3 a minute. That’s a pretty significant saving. Each country has different rates so you do want to check the KnowRoaming website in advance to find out what you’ll be charged.

Data speeds are 3G which is slower than what I’m used to at home, but that’s still pretty fast. If you plan on using a lot of data, for $7.99USD you can purchase a 24-hour data plan which is more cost-effective. You can’t avoid roaming charges completely, but this is a pretty good price point for voice and data.

I did experience some minor technical issues while travelling across Japan. On a few occasions, I would lose my network connection which cut me off from my data and really messed with my cellular GPS. I suspect this had to do with cellular handoffs (when you go from one cell tower to the next) and probably had nothing to do with KnowRoaming. Usually, a reboot of my cellphone fixed any problems, but KnowRoaming also has a 24-hour tech support line available.

Avoid roaming charges

Alternative options

Getting a local SIM will always be the cheapest option since you can get a local plan, but that means you won’t be able to take calls from your home phone number. Also, if you’re going to be travelling to multiple countries in one trip, a local SIM may not be compatible once you change countries. KnowRoaming is great since you can visit multiple countries and still get low rates.

In many Asian countries renting a pocket Wi-Fi is cheaper than KnowRoaming’s $7.99USD data plans but they’re only good for data. You won’t be able to make voice calls at the cheaper rate, nor will you be able to accept calls from your home number, so there’s definitely pros and cons to each option.

Final word

Sound quality of the service is excellent, I spoke to a few different people back home on the network and there was no loss in sound quality, nor were there any delays. Any unused credit or packages remain on your account, ready to be used on your next trip. KnowRoaming is a great choice for travellers who are looking for a single product that will allow them to make voice calls and have data access at a reasonable price.

Save 50% off KnowRoaming’s Global SIM Sticker & receive a free $5 credit using my KnowRoaming referral code BARRY18 at www.knowroaming.com


About Barry Choi

Barry Choi is a Toronto-based personal finance and travel expert who frequently makes media appearances. His blog Money We Have is one of Canada’s most trusted sources when it comes to money and travel. You can find him on Twitter:@barrychoi


  1. Avatar Our Big Fat Wallet on June 18, 2015 at 8:47 PM

    I didn’t even know this existed, how do the prices compare to Roam Mobility for travel to the US?

    • Avatar Barry Choi on June 18, 2015 at 8:49 PM

      Our Big Fat Wallet,

      Roam Mobility is better for the U.S. and Mexico. Know Roaming is better internationally especially if you’re travelling to multiple countries.

  2. Avatar Virna on June 21, 2015 at 8:25 AM

    Good to know this is available for international travel. I hope you can do a blog post on cell phone plans. My contract with Bell is expiring in August.

    • Avatar Barry Choi on June 21, 2015 at 10:52 AM


      Once your plan expires, call some of the other wireless providers to find out what they’re offering. May have $300 credit promotions if you switch over to them, but their plans might not be as good as your current one.

  3. Avatar Eric Pease on November 29, 2016 at 9:09 PM

    Used your code for 50% off! thanks!

  4. Travel Fees and Charges to Avoid - Money We Have on February 6, 2019 at 12:08 PM

    […] them under control. If you plan on travelling to multiple countries, then you should check out KnowRoaming since they offer voice and data plans at competitive rates. The best part about KnowRoaming is that […]

  5. Avatar Jaymee on April 3, 2019 at 4:13 AM

    Just bought this for my upcoming trip to Hong Kong and China… thanks for recommending this Barry 🙂

    • Avatar Barry Choi on April 3, 2019 at 7:01 PM

      Have fun during your travels!

  6. Avatar Melissa on May 11, 2019 at 1:38 AM

    Try using knowroaming SIM stickers with lowest roaming charges and can be used in more than 200 countries

  7. Avatar Keimei on June 13, 2019 at 5:12 PM

    Hi Barry, I sent you questions when Chase bailed on Canada and left us Canadians high and dry with Marriott Rewards. I have switched to AMEX and generally happy with it, not 100% accepted at merchants. But it seems that the acceptance rate overseas is less. This fact added to the Foreign Transaction Fee is a bit much. This adds up to about $25/1000 in purchases. So the choices begin to add up get another credit card with out FTF or take enough cash at the start. The ATMs were great for this until the banks got a bit more greedy and hit you up with a charge of $5/withdrawal. Noe I’m on your page about knowroaming, do you load the sim before travelling? Their webpage is unclear with the purchase of say the sim sticker with 7 day plan

    • Avatar Barry Choi on June 14, 2019 at 7:41 AM

      Hi Keimei,

      You purchase the SIM sticker in advance and then you can load funds into your account at any time.

  8. Avatar Keimei on March 19, 2020 at 2:10 PM

    Hi Barry, I have been in contact with Knowroaming about the extraordinary situation that exists now. I wanted to know if they would waive the “9 months” clause that they have with respect to account activity. It seems that they are sticking to the policy. I think that this is a chance to show some compassion to their customers. So money in my account that I cannot use overseas at this time will expire, and who knows when travel will be safe again.

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